Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Outstanding E. J. Dionne Column on The Veteran-Bashing GOP

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne is a wonderful and insightful writer on an average day, but his column yesterday, Murtha and the Mudslingers, is a must-read. Dionne begins by saying what I said last year: that he "underestimated the viciousness of the right wing." I said it primarily in the context of being naive enough to believe the Republican party would find it very hard to smear a heavily-decorated combat Veteran like John Kerry in 2004 – how wrong was I about that?

Dionne has been pushed over the edge by what they're now doing to John Murtha. Some excerpts:
"David Thibault, editor in chief of Cybercast, made it very clear to The Post's Howard Kurtz and Shailagh Murray that Murtha was facing accusations about his 1967 service now because "the congressman has really put himself in the forefront of the antiwar movement." In other words, if Murtha had just shut up and gone along with Bush, nothing would have been said about his service."
This is similar to the disgusting GOP rationale that Kerry opened himself up to attack by allowing his Vietnam service to be such a prominent point on his resume.

Here's more:
"But from 2000 forward, the Republicans had a problem: They confronted Democrats, first Al Gore and then John Kerry, who actually did go to Vietnam, while it was their own standard-bearers who had skipped the war. Suddenly, service in Vietnam wasn't the thing at all. When a Democrat went to war, there must have been something wrong with the way he did it. Gore's service was dismissed because he worked "only" as a military journalist. You can even find Bush's defenders back in 2000 daring to argue that flying planes over Texas was actually more dangerous than joining the Army and serving in Vietnam the way Gore did."
Dionne also points out how obviously sick it is that these attacks come from a Republican party whose banner at this point should simply be emblazoned with a giant chickenhawk because of how few of their lot have actually served.

You can read the rest here.